Brand advocacy is often a number one priority for brand marketers. And it’s no secret that social media allows for brand advocacy on a scale never seen before. Over half of CEOs expect social channels to be the primary way of engaging customers within the next five years. These advocates don’t need incentives to tell others about their passion for your brand – they do it precisely because they are advocates. That being said, there are still missed opportunities for brand marketers to generate more advocacy.
Our friends at Social@Ogilvy just released their first Global Brand Adovacy study, which analyzed seven million brand social mentions across four countries (Brazil, China, UK, US) and 22 brands. Social@Ogilvy used data from partners including Salesforce Marketing Cloud to analyze the key drivers of advocacy.
Specifically, Social@Ogilvy looked at:
- What do people talk about when they share their thoughts about brands, from features (rational), benefits (emotional), and cost (deals/ savings) to customer service and advertising?
- What are the degrees of advocacy from mere liking (“casual advocacy”) to enthusiastic support (“passionate advocacy”)?
- How does advocacy differ country by country?
Here are some of the key findings:
China boasts the highest level of brand advocacy.
Overall advocacy rates can vary by as much as 50% between categories and as much as 5x between countries. China had the highest overall brand advocacy rate, coming in at about 30% of total brand mentions, versus 6% in Brazil and 13% in the United States.
Product features trump emotion.
This is one of the most interesting, if not counterintuitive, parts of the study. Social@Ogilvy examined the advocacy mentions of product ads, benefits, features, costs, and customer service. In all markets, product features (e.g., the characteristics of skin cream) were the most often mentioned. In comparison, mentions of ads/commercials garnered the fewest mentions.
There is major opportunity for brands to drive more advocacy.
For most brands, the majority of mentions were casual. In the US, only two brands out of the 22 evaluated in the study had over 50% of mentions falling in the most enthusiastic advocacy category (love, excitement, must-do/buy).
Hotel brands have a social advocacy gap.
In the US hotel category Social@Ogilvy found less than one advocacy mention per 100 stays. While some of the studied hotels have guest satisfaction scores of 80% or more, there’s clearly a large social advocacy gap: the vast majority of people satisfied with their experience aren’t advocating online.
How can you apply these findings to your brand advocacy program?
1. While valuable, this is one study with a limited sample size
It’s important keep in mind that the study consisted of a limited sample size of 22 brands. The results are meant to provide guidance for your brand advocacy efforts, but should not be taken as gospel.
2. Re-evaluate your brand advocacy program
When was the last time your team evaluated social data to uncover key brand advocacy drivers? For example, Social@Ogilvy found that Holiday Inn’s breakfast tends to drive more advocacy than other hotels; in comparison, Kimpton’s bars are more often cited than those of other brands. Using Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, you can easily identify clusters of advocacy.
3. Use your brand advocacy evaluation to implement new programs
Once you’ve identified key clusters of advocacy, amplify them across all of your marketing, not just social channels. Encourage advocacy everywhere. To amplify reach, use owned, earned and paid channels, including influencer engagement, employee communications, social content, websites, social ads, email, and CRM.